Next please ….

My friend Martin never normally makes voice calls.

It’s normally connecting by e mail or perhaps a short text.

So when he called me on his mobile phone on Sunday afternoon I was rather surprised to see his name appear on my phone screen.

“How are you?” I said cheerfully.

“Not brilliant. Are you free at the minute?”

The bottom line was that he had fallen over on his patio in his garden and had hit his right leg on the stone step.

As it had swollen almost immediately he phoned his local doctor who advised him to get himself up to his local hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department as soon as possible.

I immediately drove over to his house to give him a lift and to give him some company for his A&E visit.

A&E reception was bursting at the seams, full of people, with every seat taken.

We queued up to register and, amidst the high level of background chatter, Martin managed to get his details across to the receptionist behind the glass screen.

We luckily found two seats free in the same row but a few spaces apart.

Some kind patients in between offered to swap seats so we could chat easily.

And we did.

For about 2 hours, in fact, before an impressive male nurse with a clipboard called out his name.

We rushed up to meet him and his look told us that he was surprised to see us.

He was surprised because he has called out the name Margaret and not Martin.

Full marks for his observation.

No marks for our hearing.

We were sent back to our seats, now taken.

Eventually we went in to see the specialist.

She was warm, amusing but professional.

She tested his leg and his ability to move his ankle and knee.

All seemed ok so she asked if we had any questions.

“I have two questions” said Martin

“Will I be able to swim with this leg?”

“If you could swim before with this leg, you should be able to swim with it now” she said with a smile.

And the second question?

“Will I be able to take part in the pantomime we are showing at my local theatre next week?”

“Especially so if it’s Treasure Island and you are playing Long John Silver” she said with a wicked smile.

We both came out into the main A&E reception laughing and joking.

Other potential patients waiting nervously for their calls must have wondered what we had both been prescribed ….

Who ya gonna call?…

I’ve always been comfortable with statistics, numbers and measuring stuff.

I think you do sometimes need to think about what the numbers really mean.

Numbers of friends , numbers of likes, numbers of followers etc. can, of course, be very useful.

We all love them.

Especially when they are growing.

For me the social media world of Facebook can be both interesting and misleading.

My “friends” on that social media site are an interesting mix of my regular face to face contacts and others who I know but don’t really call or contact as often as I should.

Some of my friends regularly publicise when they are away on holiday complete with airport check-in confirmation (not likely to impress their home and contents insurers), some send photos of their food in front of them on the table in their restaurant (are these giving me guidance?), some regularly send photos of themselves (do they think I may have forgotten what they look like?) some are just cryptic, with updates that are just damn right mysterious.

Some tip me off regularly about forthcoming music or cycling events.

I keep in contact with as many of my friends on a face to face basis whenever I can. It’s not easy and takes a lot of time and personal energy!

Well here’s a few questions for you (and I’m not collecting data!)

If you have just broken down in your car, stranded, at say 3.00am in the morning, and your smartphone still has a charge, how many on your “friends” list could you call to get you back home?

Who will not hesitate in leaving their warm bed to come out to get you back?

When did you last meet up with them face to face for a proper chat and catch up?

Who ya gonna call?

Certainly not Ghostbusters.

Just saying … and just thinking ….